Crizotinib (kriz-OH-ti-nib). Tony’s new chemotherapy has a name that’s difficult to pronounce. It also has some real big perks. It’s a new drug, called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. If you’re interested in how that works on the cellular level, you can find all sorts of explanations on Google. The big take home point, though, is that it’s a more targeted therapy, and because of that there are fewer side effects. No hair loss. Minimal fatigue. Still a bit of nausea & vomiting (as he learned shortly after taking the first dose).
The other big perk: no more infusions. Crizotinib is a tablet Tony takes twice a day. This means that he gets to have his central line taken out (on Tuesday!). In so many ways, Tony’s life will feel a lot more normal.
All of these things sound great, but we still need this therapy to work. This medication targets an ALK fusion gene, one of the genes that was found through the genomic testing Tony had last Fall. Crizotinib is currently only approved for use in ALK-positive lung cancer, however Tony’s oncologist thinks it could work for him, and got approval from the drug company to give it to Tony.
We don’t quite know what the next few months will look like. Since Crizotinib is well tolerated, Tony will likely continue to take it as long as it keeps working and he doesn’t have any major side effects. Dr. Rushing said to plan on taking it “until further notice”. So this is our new normal, peppered by a few MRIs here and there to monitor tumor size, and of course, continued prayer.